VIDO and Pirbright expand collaboration to advance vaccine manufacturing

Oct 27, 2023

The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Centre for Veterinary Vaccine Innovation and Manufacturing (CVIM) at The Pirbright Institute (Pirbright). The MOU allows for expanded collaborations and training around vaccine manufacturing to drive innovations for animal health.

The collaboration, signed yesterday in Pirbright, UK will contribute to global animal health, including process development and vaccine manufacturing for emerging infectious diseases of livestock, specifically those that affect primarily low-and-middle-income countries.

“Collaborating with the CVIM is a vital step towards establishing a global network of key groups with the capacity to drive discovery innovations to commercial readiness,” said VIDO Director and CEO, Dr. Volker Gerdts. “This MOU reinforces VIDO’s commitment to addressing infectious diseases of global importance and foster vaccine commercialization as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research.”

VIDO has close to five decades of expertise developing vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and is one of the largest and most advanced containment level 3-agriculture (CL3-Ag) research facilities in the world. The new Vaccine Development Centre (VDC) at VIDO builds on VIDO’s roots in veterinary medicine and expertise in developing animal models of disease. This is important as most new and emerging human infectious diseases originate in animals.

The CVIM based at Pirbright was established with funding from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It was established to help answer an unmet global need to develop vaccines to control disease in livestock. Both the VDC and CVIM have been established to accelerate commercial development, with a recognized effort to prioritize neglected livestock diseases and urgent emerging zoonotic diseases.

“The growing collaboration between these two institutes is a testament of our partnership to address some of the major global challenges related to food security for the world, particularly for low-and-middle-income countries,” said Professor Bryan Charleston FRS, Director of The Pirbright Institute. Both organizations expect this collaboration to expand to groups in low-and-middle-income countries  

“VIDO’s research efforts address diseases that have the potential to inflict profound impacts on both humans and animals. These diseases pose a risk to the well-being and welfare of everyone,” said USask President Peter Stoicheff, who was in the U.K. in October as part of a delegation with several other members of the campus’ leadership team to expand USask's international influence abroad. “Together, the VDC and CVIM are working towards combating this problem and creating solutions that will benefit people around the world.” 

For more information, contact:

Daniel Hallen
USask Media Relations

Caitlin Gill
Communications Coordinator

About University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization

The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is internationally recognized for its role in vaccine development and is one of Canada’s national science facilities. VIDO has conducted infectious disease research and vaccine development for almost half a century—eight of its vaccines have been sold commercially, and six have been described as world-firsts. The >175-member organization operates using an ISO9001 certified management system in one of the largest and most advanced containment facilities in the world. To strengthen the preparedness for emerging infectious diseases VIDO is expanding to become Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research which includes GMP CL3 capable vaccine manufacturing and containment Level 4 capacity. VIDO receives operating support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation Major Science Initiatives fund and the Government of Saskatchewan through Innovation Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Agriculture.

About the Centre for Veterinary Vaccine Innovation and Manufacturing

Globally there is a gap in the capacity to translate scientific discoveries into solutions for the most challenging, emerging, and urgent infectious diseases. Translating innovative ideas from the laboratory to products, needs specialist expertise and facilities to ensure novel vaccines can be produced at scale, cost effectively, and formulated for mass deployment. Currently, novel ideas need to be sufficiently de-risked to attract interest from multinational companies to consider product development. Many good ideas are not taken forward because of the limited bandwidth in major pharma for early manufacturing process development and feasibility studies and there remains a gap in the developmental pipeline for veterinary vaccines.

The Centre for Veterinary Vaccine Innovation and Manufacturing (CVIM) will support the development and deployment of vaccine technologies to combat neglected and emerging diseases of livestock, including zoonotic diseases that represent a threat to public health. CVIM will contribute to Livestock R&D goals to increase agricultural productivity through development of improved animal-health vaccine products for priority livestock diseases. In addition, CVIM will contribute to global priorities through health security and pandemic preparedness efforts by improving the response to emerging zoonotic diseases and promoting vaccine manufacturing and innovation.